Republicans Confident After Convention

    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.  Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    x
    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    TAMPA — U.S. Republicans hope their national convention this week in Florida will give presidential candidate Mitt Romney a major boost in what is expected to be a closely fought election campaign between now and November 6.  

    Mother Nature threw the Republicans off-message at the start of their convention as Tropical Storm Isaac made its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

    But the convention mood improved as the week went on, says Florida Congressman Dennis Ross.

    "We started off Monday canceling the convention," said Ross. "We watched what happened and as the weather gets better the convention gets better, so I think we are going to see some momentum leaving here and we will ride a wave in the next 68 days and have a new president come November."

    Unlike the past when U.S. party conventions actually chose presidential candidates, the modern convention aims to present the presidential nominee to a national audience and lay out the key themes of his campaign message.

    That's especially important this year for Mitt Romney.  Mr. Romney is seen as less likeable than his opponent after months of attack ads, first from his conservative rivals in the Republican primaries and later from President Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

    It was clear talking to delegates in Tampa that many Republicans still are motivated more by the goal of defeating Mr. Obama than by any love for Mr. Romney as a conservative leader.

    Mark Shields is a syndicated columnist and a political analyst on the Newshour program on the Public Broadcasting System.

    "The organizing principle of the Republican Party in 2012 is to defeat Barack Obama," said Shields. "It isn't necessarily adulation or an emotional connection with Mitt Romney."

    Party leaders say they are confident their convention helped to build party unity, even if some delegates remain less than enthusiastic about Mr. Romney.

    Senator Jon Kyl is a veteran Republican from Arizona.

    "Look, he's not Ronald Reagan," said Kyl. "Who else is?  He does have the party unified.  He brings a lot of strengths to the top of the ticket.  And most of all, he will be seen as a person who is a very good man who has a great capability to fix what's wrong, and boy does this country need somebody like that now who understands what it takes.”

    Some of those strains may have been eased when Mr. Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, says conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock.

    "Romney has been all over the board on some issues," said Hedgecock. "Right now his platform is fantastic from a conservative point of view.  And Paul Ryan as a [vice presidential] selection, which is the first decision that the nominee Mitt Romney made, is a terrific decision, which has excited the conservative base a lot."

    A familiar voice in that conservative base is commentator Ann Coulter.  She is warning Republicans to brace themselves for a fresh wave of attacks from Democrats.

    "That is the only way they campaign against us by trying to make our candidates look stupid or scary, and you cannot make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look stupid or scary," said Coulter.

    But analyst Mark Shields says Mr. Romney will need to find a way to connect with voters in a more personal way if he hopes to win the White House in November.

    "We know that the failures of presidents over the past half century have been failures not of intellect, not of experience, but failures of personality or character," he said. "Personality in the case of Jimmy Carter, I think it's fair to say.  Character certainly in the case of Richard Nixon.  So they want somebody they are comfortable with.  They want to be sure and they want to be sure especially in 2012 that this is somebody who understands what I'm going through."

    The Democrats get their turn beginning Monday when they gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their convention to nominate President Obama for a second four-year term.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora